More Lese-Majesty

11005141674_a24f87760a_mJust a quick update to an entry we made in 2015, regarding ‘Lèse-Majesté’, the ancient crime of insulting those in power.

As of January 1st, 2018 – According to a German news site, DW.Com – Germany will have no law punishing lese-majeste.  The repeal was prompted by a high-profile prosecution under the law.  A german talk show host had read a ‘defamatory’ poem on the air.  The Turkish president found it defamatory, at any rate: it contained very rude statements that ostensibly referred to him.

The prosecution didn’t go much of anywhere.  Because the author’s purpose in composing and broadcasting the poem was to be offensive generally, the charge was dismissed because prosecutors couldn’t establish a specific intent to insult a particular person.  But the charge HAD been authorized by the German government, and the threat of its use led to law’s repeal.

In Thailand, on the other hand, Lèse-Majesté is alive and well.  According to a couple of recent articles, on in the Guardian and the other in Time, a man was recently sentenced to 35 years in prison for making unwise Facebook posts.